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By Orin Hargraves

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Book Information


Title: Cardinal Numerals
Subtitle: Old English from a Cross-Linguistic Perspective
Written By: Ferdinand von Mengden
Series Title: Topics in English Linguistics [TiEL] 67

The book embeds a description and an analysis of the Old English numeral
system into a broader, cross-linguistic discussion. It provides a
theoretical framework for the study of numerals and numeral systems of
natural languages, bridging the gap between recent findings in the
cognitive sciences on numeracy and the known typological generalisations on
cardinal numerals.

The Old English numeral system shows a number of peculiarities not found in
the present-day languages of Europe. Its detailed description is therefore
an ideal locus for studying the features of linguistic number expressions
in terms of their morpho-syntactic properties and of the structure of
numeral systems.

The approach is innovative in that it combines a detailed analysis of the
numeral system with the analysis of the grammatical properties of cardinal
numerals. For the description of Old English, the study focuses on aspects
of information structure and of referent identification in quantificational
constructions. This leads to a novel perspective on the language-internal
variation in the agreement patterns between numerals and quantified nouns,
allowing the author to test and refine some long standing tenets in the
study of numerals and to offer alternative explanations.

Rather than seeing numerals as a hybrid word class, the author argues that
this variation in the morpho-syntactic behaviour follows identifiable
patterns specific to the word class numeral. He accounts for these patterns
by positing different, cross-linguistically uniform stages in the emergence
of numeral systems, as well as varying degrees of discreteness of the
quantified noun. Moreover, the author demonstrates that the constraints
determining this variation in Old English have obvious parallels across

Publication Year: 2010
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis
General Linguistics
Linguistic Theories
Language Typology
Historical Linguistics
Language Change
Subject Language(s): English, Old
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Format: Electronic
ISBN-13: 9783110220353
Pages: 329
Prices: Europe EURO 99.95
Format: Hardback
ISBN-13: 9783110220346
Pages: 329
Prices: Europe EURO 99.95